Tamarindo and Monarch Bring New Life to Del Mar Food And Social SceneEat + Drink For years Del Mar has been sleepy in spite of its incredible location. That's changing fast.
When Del Mar Plaza was purchased by Brixton Capital, the new owners expressed their desire to be very intentional about the tenant mix at the plaza going forward, with the goal of restoring a real sense of community to the timeless location. It seems to be working: two new restaurants and a focus on utilizing the Plaza’s outdoor space for social gatherings have added much-needed energy to the food and social scene in Del Mar.
For years, Del Mar Plaza and Del Mar Village, in general, have been sleepy in spite of their incredible location overlooking one of the best beaches in the world, the close proximity to the Del Mar Race Track, and a central position between San Diego and North County.
Monarch Ocean Pub
A project of Social Syndicate, Monarch Ocean Pub, was the first of the two new venues to open – smack dab in the middle of the pandemic.
But all it takes is a step inside of the venue to understand why it’s been packed (within pandemic safety standards) from the day it opened.
The top floor location has floor-to-ceiling open-air with an unmatched view of the Del Mar coastline – it’s absolutely stunning.
It’s clear to see why Social Syndicate – known for bringing new energy to communities with their projects such as Wonderland Ocean Pub, Bootlegger, The Local Pacific Beach, The Rabbit Hole, and a favorite of the ThereSanDiego.com team, Grand Ole BBQ in Flinn Springs – believed that they could do the same in Del Mar.
More than views
Monarch serves up ‘California Coastal Vibes’, and it does a damn good job of it! Expect live music, Tom Selleck-themed specials, and bartenders leading rounds of shots. Monarch clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously, which creates the perfect environment to unwind from the week.
The food is fresh, high-quality, and healthy – but it’s still the kind of menu where you can find the right food for when you plan on taking your happy hour into the night.
Everything we’ve tried – wood-fired smoked wings, chowda fries, flatbreads, ceviches, and the Applewood bacon burger – have all been great.
And with the fun staff (nightly sunset toasts led by the bartenders), incredible views, festive crowd, and large outdoor patio space – you’ll have no reason to leave.
It’s the perfect place to end the day with friends, drinks, and perfect sunset views.
You’ll have no reason to leave, but if you do…
If you do decide to venture elsewhere, it will likely be right downstairs to Tamarindo.
Tamarindo is a Moose Restaurant Group (Fred’s Mexican Cafe in Old Town and locations in Hawaii) serving the rich flavors of Latin American cuisine.
The food, service, and cocktails at Tamarindo are all excellent, and the menu is more interesting and sophisticated than a typical Mexican food experience.
Our dinner the other night included:
- Carne Asada Yucca Fritas
- Grande Guacamole
- Oaxacan Fig Mole
- Short Rib Tamarindo
- Fresh Churros
Washed down with a couple of stiff Maiz Old Fashioneds – that’s hard to beat!
Finish the night on the Ocean View Deck
A big change that’s happened – seemingly in response to the pandemic – is that the wide-open patio space on top of Del Mar Plaza known as the Ocean View Deck, which used to be underutilized due to a lack of service, is now a popular gathering spot with bar service and music. This seems to be a reflection of the plan by Brixton Capital to restore the sense of community that Del Mar Plaza once had.
It’s the perfect place to end the night with another drink and relaxing with friends or making new ones.
Just in time for summer!
Vaccination numbers are soaring, coronavirus cases are plummeting, and people are itching to get out – it should be a fun summer in Del Mar!
Click here for more information on shopping, dining, and events at Del Mar Plaza this summer.
See you there…and stay safe, San Diego!